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Apple may announce new products Tuesday

The company could detail new iMacs at the Seybold publishing conference, including a larger screen, changes to the industrial design, and improved audio features.

A year after it was introduced, the sales figures for Apple's iMac continue to impress, and they could be boosted soon by a new version to be introduced this fall for the back-to-school and holiday buying seasons.

"Sales of the iMac should be far stronger than we previously expected," said Warburg Dillon Read analyst Charlie Wolf in a report today. The new iMac will likey debut in October, he stated.

Reuters, quoting analysts, reported that an announcement of new products could come as early as Tuesday at the Seybold publishing conference in San Francisco. Interim CEO Steve Jobs is scheduled to give a keynote Tuesday at the Moscone Convention Center.

"We are classifying it as major news," a company spokeswoman told Reuters. She did not elaborate.

As previously reported, Apple has been working on a successor to the iMac that will likely feature a larger monitor, changes to the industrial design, and improved audio features, sources said in June. Allegedly code named C2, the new machine is expected to be shown off sometime in September and be released in November.

The iMac, which had its one-year anniversary this month, continues to sell well. For the month of June, Apple maintained its No. 3 ranking in the retail and mail-order market with strong sales of the iMac, despite falling prices for "Wintel"-based PCs and a crush of sales generated by offers of "free" PCs, according to a report from research firm PC Data.

The average selling price of Apple's systems, including Power Macintosh systems, was $500 more than the average selling price of a Windows-based PC, according to PC Data. The iMac was the most popular system for the month.

It was priced $604 more than the average selling price of the most popular PC model, a system from Hewlett-Packard.

Warburg Dillon Read pumped up its iMac shipment estimates for the next year. "We were forecasting iMac shipments of 1.85 million units in 2000. Our new forecast has shipments of 2.57 million units," Wolf wrote.

Overall, the firm also doubled its estimate for total shipment growth for Apple in 2000 from 16 percent to 34 percent, the company said. The firm also raised its projections of Apple's 2000 revenues from 17 percent to 25 percent, Wolf said.

Sales have also been boosted by the new iBook portable--a laptop that inherited the iMac's colorful and curvaceous design.